Ballon d’Or 2021: An insight into the craze called social media.

By Tai Emeka Obasi, October 10, 2021

Man’s emotionality has stupendously gone beyond bizarre since the advent of the social media. This medium has exposed man in his animal form. Thoughts, however lopsided, turn into opinions without an iota of censor. Curses jump onto screens of whatever device without any form of filter.

It’s so so embarrassing that those with any form of journalistic discipline get baffled to the extent of believing that no matter its advantages that this crazy media space has brought along more evil than good.

Editors of any news outfit were hitherto paid good sums of money to filter news/comments and present in a manner that display man’s dignity. Today, that dignity has excessively been abused and the shocking revelation of the recklessness of man exposed. In that recklessness, wickedness takes centre stage of this spectre.

Once his emotions are touched, man forces his wishes into laws. The last United States Presidential Election became a huge eye-opener that man has completely lost control of his emotions. Decorum has become a word that exists only in the dictionary. Professionalism took a very deep tumble that even the once-famed CNN evidently presented naked lies as statement of facts while at same time forcing down opinions as news reports.

In the sporting world, it’s even worse. Individual love of sporting personalities force undue altercations as per such person’s superiority over others.

In football, the social media space has created an unnecessarily endless debate of the better player between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. No matter the index of comparison involved, no side of the divide succumbs to any disadvantage, no matter how glaring.

That is why the major measurement of the sport’s annual greatness has become a war between the massive fans of the great players.

Ballon d’Or awards for over 13 decades have always been polarized to the point that once it’s clear either of the two supreme gladiators didn’t perform enough to merit it, the fans of the disadvantaged player always tried to push for another player to win.

In 2010, fans of Ronaldo cried and continue to cry blue murder that Messi didn’t deserve it. They’re all in agreement that their idolised Portuguese didn’t but incensed that it didn’t go to Holland’s Wesley Sneijder. They argue that the Inter Milan playmaker won the year’s Champions League as well as played in the World Cup final. Attempts by FIFA to educate that trophies alone did not make a player the best but rather his individual performances across a Calendar year met with angry rebuff from the fans of the Portuguese striker.

In 2018, even though Messi didn’t deserve or won it but fans of the Argentine master of the art were happy it went to Croatia’s Luca Modric. While Ronaldo fans fumed, even though voters seemed to have accepted the norm they created – trophies, they used all sorts of uncensored words to scream Ronaldo was robbed.

In the 2019 edition, Ronaldo fans did everything on social media and beyond to ensure Virgil van Dijk won but Messi scooped it by just seven votes with Ronaldo coming a distant third. The fans of the Portuguese characteristically went gaga, chorusing that VVD deserved it. Yet, their idol managed to get third because of his goals. But they wanted the Golden Boot winner to miss out for a defender who scored only five times in 2019. Man and his emotions!

Such is the level of support and extreme rivalry created by the social media.

This is 2021 and the ultimate award is due in November 29 in Paris, France. Between the two rivals, Ronaldo is clearly not in the picture. But his fans are already attempting public manipulation.

They are supporting either Jorginho of Chelsea and Italy or Ngolo Kante of same Chelsea but France. Some are even insisting on Robert Lewandowski just because the Pole missed it last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But this year’s award is clearly Messi’s. And ironically, it’s Ronaldo’s fans that made sure the PSG star will go home with it. When they made so much about Ronaldo’s national team trophy and continuously taunted Messi for not having won any, they definitely didn’t know that this day would come.

Messi broke that jinx and in style too – winning every prize on display – playing scintillating football, scoring most goals, making most assists, completing most dribbles, creating most chances, etc. Ronaldo’s fans made Messi the focus of last Copa America and the petit artiste delivered in style. If there’s any major stage of this year’s Ballon d’Or, Messi grabbed it in Brazil.

There’s little the flurry of Ronaldo fans can do about it. It will take an upset of the highest degree to deny this great footballer his 7th Ballon d’Or.

Jorginho doesn’t come close and neither does Kante. Lewandowski should take the second spot. If it’s all by merit, no Chelsea player deserves to be in top three. Kante had just three eye-catching appearances this year, all in the Champions League and I can’t remember Jorginho winning any man-of-the-match award in 2021. I can even accommodate Man United’s Hernandez ahead of this duo.

But don’t be surprised if social media interventions decide otherwise. We’re in an era of a crazy world where emotions reign.

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